Police are investigating a driver for impairment after he reportedly ran his vehicle into the side of a moving train Wednesday night, according to Maricopa Police Department.
The incident occurred Dec. 6 just before 8 p.m. at the State Route 238 and Ralston Road intersection.
Authorities said the train engine had passed the intersection about a quarter of a mile down the tracks when the vehicle, headed north on Ralston, struck one of its train cars at nearly full speed, said MPD spokesman Ricardo Alvarado.
The accident scene led police to believe the driver may have entered the southbound lane prior to colliding with the train because the vehicle did not hit the railroad cross arm, Alvarado said.
When Maricopa Fire & Medical Department arrived, they reported finding the vehicle with substantial front-end damage and “a male in his 40s out of the vehicle walking around,” said Brad Pitassi, MFMD Spokesman.
A witness initially reported to police seeing a passenger in the vehicle, but Alvarado said after MPD interviewed the witness further she could not confirm the sighting. The driver reported he was the only person in the car at the time of the crash, Alvarado added.
Crews later transported the driver to Chandler Regional Medical Center with minor injuries. MPD has issued a warrant for blood vials taken from the driver at the hospital. They will be tested at a Department of Public Safety lab for the DUI investigation.
Union Pacific Railroad spokesman Jeff DeGraff said the wreck did not cause damage to the train or its crew. However, it did halt traffic in the area until the accident was cleared around 10 p.m.
Reporter Mason Callejas contributed to this story.